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Natural Resources Wales calls for water companies to take action as pollution incidents rise

09 Jul 2022 3 minute read
“River Wye at Monmouth” by imaginedhorizons is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is calling for water companies to step up and take action after pollution incidents rise and compliance with environmental permits for sewage discharges falls.

The deterioration in performance by Dŵr Cymru has been highlighted in NRW’s annual environmental performance reports for water companies and has led to the company being downgraded from a four-star (industry leading) company status last year to three-star (good company) under 2021 Environmental Performance Assessment metrics (EPA).

According to the report, sewage-related pollution incidents caused by Dŵr Cymru assets increased to 83 last year from 77 the previous year.

Two of these pollution incidents were categorised as having a serious (High) environmental impact. There was also one serious (High) incident from a water supply asset.

It also shows that compliance against permitted discharge levels dropped from 99.7% to 98.3% and self-reporting of incidents dropped from 80% to 76%.

Although the overall number of pollution incidents rose from six to eight for Hafren Dyfrdwy, the company was able to report no serious pollution.

They also had a drop in compliance at permitted discharges from 100% to 97.9% and self-reporting of incidents dropped from 100% to 75%.

Expectations for improvements are outlined in both reports, including targets to reduce the number of pollution incidents year on year, aiming towards zero.


Ceri Davies, NRW’s Executive Director for Evidence, Policy and Permitting said: “Water companies have a responsibility to the environment, as well as their customers, and they must take these incidents – and the impact they have on our water quality – seriously.

“Over many years water companies in Wales have invested significantly and improved their environmental performance so we are challenging their recent performance and asking them to set the standard for the water sector by attaining industry leading status, whilst also showing leadership in responding to the biodiversity and climate crises.

“The decline in environmental performance is disappointing and we expect them to respond positively with renewed effort, and to drive forward improvements.

“Earlier this week, we published our storm overflow roadmap, in collaboration with the water sector and Welsh Government, which outlines an action plan of commitments from all those involved to reduce the impact of storm overflows on our rivers in Wales.

“This sits amongst a number of initiatives across other sectors including rural land use and industry, to tackle the numerous threats facing our rivers. Improving water quality for the long term requires a collective effort from all involved, working together to identify catchment-scale solutions to contribute to healthy rivers.”

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1 year ago

So it’s not ALL about farmers then ! Will the anti agri lobby within our Senedd please take note.

1 year ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Does the, unelected, WEF have its tentacles in the Senedd? Strange that our people are quiet on this nasty organisation.

1 year ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

The Bay Bubble draws much of its inspiration from likes of WEF. Rigged party lists is the closest our lot can get at the moment to their ideal of being, like the WEF, unelected

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
1 year ago

No comment by Dwr Cymru? Or no defence.

Considering the level of investment they like to brag about and the money they take from us, Is there something fundamentally wrong with their management for so many treatment works to be repeatedly failing consents? (Yes).

1 year ago
Reply to  Argol fawr!

Not for profit – they say, and that may be the case as they plough their surpluses into juicy executive “rewards packages” and fancy pet projects. Sounds like a cosy exclusive club to me.

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